Only 18% of Wilmington Viewers Aware of Early Analog Shut-Off

Of 501 Wilmington TV viewers polled, 9 out of 10 were aware of February 2009 digital transition.

There was good news and bad news out of a National Association of Broadcasters survey on the DTV awareness of viewers in Wilmington, N.C.

That is where the majority of stations are switching from analog to digital early--Sept.8--to help the FCC collect information/develop best practices to deal with the full-power analog cut-off in the rest of the country Feb. 17, 2009.

NAB polled 501 TV viewers in the market and found that almost 9 out of 10 (89%) were aware that there was going to be a digital transition. That was the good news.

The bad news was that only 18% of the viewers were aware that Wilmington was pulling the plug early, though NAB concedes that response was likely attributable to the fact that the test was only announced a few weeks ago.

The FCC has launched a campaign to inform Wilmington viewers including radio spots cut by FCC Chairman Kevin Martin and Commissioner Michael Adelstein, and billboards in prominent locations.

The NAB says it has also met with the participating full-power stations--one is a low power--to discuss the test, and will schedule more DTV Speakers Bureau events there and send its traveling DTV Road Show to the market in August and September, as well as customizing DTV action spot PSA's to the market.

Jim Goodmon, president of Capitol Broadcasting, whose Wilmington station is making the switch, told reporters at the press conference announcing the test back in May that viewers would get the message. "If you don't know that the transition is coming in Wilmington," he said, "you won't be breathing."